Create a Hyperlinked Notes Database with Tomboy
By on February 10th, 2010

tomboy-icon I’ve been playing with Linux for a couple of years now. One of the applications on Linux that I’ve grown to use often, is Tomboy. Since I spend most of the day in Windows, I was pleased to find out that the developers of Tomboy have ported it over to Windows (and Mac). I’ll tell you a bit about this app and how to install it on your Windows PC.

What is Tomboy?

It’s a note taking application. However, it blends normal text with links and hyperlinks, such as you see while using a web browser. A link in Tomboy usually opens another Tomboy page. This feature allows you to quickly build a personal knowledge database that’s easy to navigate, organize and manage. Tomboy also allows you to use web links and email links.

Here’s what a Tomboy note looks like:

tomboy-start-here-page

When you need to create a new page in Tomboy, you can either use the “new page” button, or you can create a link using a word or several words in a page. Once you’ve created a link such as “My Personal Info”, every time you type those words into Tomboy, the text automatically turns into a link to the “My Personal Info” page.

Here are some other features of Tomboy:

  • Text Highlights
  • web links & email address links
  • Undo/redo
  • Font styling & sizing
  • Bulleted lists

When you highlight text in Tomboy, a single click can turn it into a link, or you can format the text by using the “Text” menu.

tomboy-text-format

When it’s not in use, Tomboy normally resides as an icon in the system tray. Right clicking on the system tray icon will bring up the main menu. However,   I’ve noticed that sometimes the icon disappears in Windows. Tomboy can still be accessed by using the ALT + F12 hotkey combination to pop up the Tomboy menus.

tomboy-main-menu

Take a look at the following video to get a better idea of how Tomboy works.

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Installing Tomboy in Windows?

Tomboy requires .NET 3.5 (from Microsoft) and GTK# (from Novel) in order to run. If you are running Windows 7, you already have .NET, but XP users may need to install or update their current .NET.

Dowload GTK# for Windows and install it.

Once you have .NET and GTK# installed, you can download the Tomboy Installer and run it.

Final Note: Tomboy also has the ability to synchronize notes between operating systems and between different computers. I plan on showing you how to do this in a later article.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I usually don’t care much for applications that have strict requirements such as .NET. In the case of Tomboy Notes, I’m willing to overlook this failing. The ability to work with the same notes when I’m using Windows, Linux or Mac is pretty valuable to me. Many would argue that several online services already allow you to do this from a web browser. Just as many people still like to have a local application to keep their private notes more secure and easier to access. If you need to keep your notes on a local drive, Tomboy can be a flexible choice for you.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.
  • Daniel

    Nice find Clif!

    Not being a Linux user it's nice to discover what's available for that OS.

    In the long run, Tomboy may be a good alternative to EverNote, especially that the new version now requires .NET app

    Wonder where the guy in the video clip got his mouse pointer? Pretty spiffy!

    • http://clif-notes.blogspot.com Clif Sipe

      Hi Daniel – thanks for the comment. I was not able to find the cursor that guy was using. He was using Ubuntu Linux.

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  • http://deafaccessfilms.com Greg

    @Daniel

    Hey, I love ScrapBook plus FireFox add-on as manual web scrape and Save/organize/edit tool. It's only like 300k and does everything I tried to find with EverNote, NetSnippets (pretty dang good, just bigger memory footprint than ScrapBook requires) or a few others.

    Greg

    • Daniel

      @Greg,

      Sorry for taking so long to say "thanks!"
      Forgot to click "notify" bit.

      Then again, there's Ubernote but it seems to stagnant for some time now.

 
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